A team of researchers from the universities of Marburg, Giessen and Paderborn has combined the advantages of two-dimensional materials and hybrid perovskites, to create new materials to benefit computer chips, light-emitting diodes and solar cells.

The team explains that the development of new two-dimensional materials has, to date, been rather limited to structures with layers of rigid chemical bonds in two spatial directions - like a sheet of paper in a stack. Now, for the first time, the research team led by Dr. Johanna Heine (Inorganic Chemistry, Philipps University of Marburg) has overcome this limitation by using an innovative concept. The researchers developed an organic-inorganic hybrid crystal which consists of chains in a single direction, yet still forms two-dimensional layers in spite of this. This makes it possible to combine different material components, like pieces in a construction set, to create tailored materials with innovative properties.

"What is special about this is that it offers completely new options for targeted design of future functional materials," says Dr. Heine. "This physical effect - first discovered here - could make it possible to tune the color of future lighting and display technologies in a simple and targeted way," says physicist Philip Klement, lead author and doctoral student in the research group led by Professor Sangam Chatterjee at the Justus Liebig University of Giessen (JLU).

The work was carried out in an interdisciplinary collaboration: Dr. Johanna Heine's team at the University of Marburg first developed the chemical synthesis and created the material as a single bulk crystal. Philip Klement and Professor Chatterjee's team at JLU then used these crystals to produce individual atomically thin layers and investigated them using optical laser spectroscopy. They found a spectrally broadband ("white") light emission, whose color temperature can be tuned by changing the thickness of the layer. Working closely with Professor Stefan Schumacher and his team of theoretical physicists at Paderborn University the researchers made a microscopic study of the effect and were able to improve the properties of the material.

In this way the researchers were able to cover the entire process from synthesis of the material and understanding its properties, to modelling the properties.